Real Romania - Lesser Known Sights

Posted by Crooked Compass

Located in the heart of Eastern Europe is Romania. A country famed for its delicious wines and fortified castles that have given birth to the legend of Dracula. Are you looking for off-the-map experiences and a chance to discover the medieval traditions of this fascinating culture? Enjoy scenic hikes through the dense forests of Transylvania and explore the picturesque Carpathian Mountains. A trip to Romania is perfect for those travellers seeking a more diverse experience in an often overlooked part of our world.

Transylvania || Photo Credit: Molnar Szabolcs (Flickr)

There is more to Romania than beautiful mountains, medieval fortresses and scenic adventures. Romania has many national dishes to sample along the way that will warm your heart and are part of what makes this country such an amazing one. In today's blog post we are going to delve into lesser-known sites throughout Romania. Add these ideas to your itinerary or join our small group tour that visits them all as part of our ten-day journey through this fascinating region. Read on to learn more...

Transf?g?r??an Road || Photo Credit: Dariusz Grosa (Pexels)

Primaeval Beech Forest

Have you heard about the UNESCO World Heritage site that stretches over 12 countries? Strimbu Baiut is part of the primeval beech forest transboundary property that stretches over 12 countries and includes Romania, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Span and Ukraine. Since the end of the last Ice Age, European Beech spread from a few isolated refuge areas in the Alps, Carpathians, Dinarides, Mediterranean and Pyrenees over a short period of a few thousand years in a process that is still ongoing. The successful expansion across a whole continent is related to the tree’s adaptability and tolerance of different climatic, geographical and physical conditions.

Carpathian Forest || Photo Credit: Irene Mei (Flickr)

Iza Valley 

The Iza Valley follows the Iza River southeastward from Sighetu Marmatiei to Moisei. Maramure peasant villages nestle in the valley, almost all featuring the region’s famed elaborately carved wooden gates and tall wooden churches. Smaller villages are built into the hillside of the other valleys that branch off to the side, enticing visitors to walk across the hills between them. One of the churches that are of notable mention is the church at Barsana, which is a must-visit if you are in the region.

Barsana || Photo Credit: Remus Pereni (Flickr)

The wooden church of Barsana is small, neat and perfectly positioned atop a hillock to the west of the village centre. Built in 1720, its florid paintings are amongst the best in Maramure? and date from 1720 and 1806. Hodor Toador and Ion Plohod were responsible for the later set, with icons on wood by the former – the narthex is adorned with saints and processional images, while the naos is painted with Old and New Testament scenes, each in a decorative medallion. Don’t miss the images of angels covered in eyes.

Barsana || Photo Credit: Ignazio Carpitella (Flickr)

Rodna Mountains

The Rodna mountains are one of Romania’s best hiking areas and this is largely because you’re sure to have them virtually to yourself. Our guide will drive you to Borsa, where you will take a chairlift deep into the beautiful Rodna Mountains. Trek through the mountains and take in the wonderful Romanian countryside, a true highlight of your journey will be when you first witness the magnificent Stiol Lake, a glacier lake from which the Bistrita river springs.

Rodna Mountains || Photo Credit: Mihai Lucit (Flickr)

The Rodna Mountains have one of the longest continuous ridges in Romania, with over 50 km from west to east. The two highest points are Pietrosul Rodnei and Ineu peaks, measuring 2,303 and 2,279 metres respectively.

Rodna Mountains Chairlift || Photo Credit: Basil & Tracy Brooks (Flickr)

Hasmas National Park

Highlights of Hasmas National Park include the Bicaz Gorges which are famous for their 300m (1000 ft) limestone rocks towering over narrow roads and passes. The road that slices through the Bicaz Gorges (Cheile Bicazului) is among Romania's most stunning and spectacular. For kayakers and fly-fishing enthusiasts the park's main attraction is the Red Lake (Lacul Rosu), created in 1837 after a major natural landslide. Short and long walks provide access to the lake's spectacular scenery and many fishing spots. The Bicaz Gorges offer a unique view of the Ceahlau Mountains, which is sure to make for some spectacular photo moments!

Hasmas National Park || Photo Credit: @klmircea (Flickr)

Looking for a lesser known European destination, then add Romania to your list. If you would like to make this experience yours then contact us today. Check out our Real Romania small group tour details here.